It was home sweet home for the CLS Knights of Indonesia, as the squad scored a 80-75 win over Mono Vampire Basketball Club in GOR Basket Kertajaya, Surabaya, Indonesia.
Fresh from a blowout loss to San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, the Knights looked eager to atone for their loss against Mono Vampire which was also desperate to grab its first win of the season. However the Knights had the benefit of a fourth quarter lead when the court became slippery because of moisture from rain in the area. Thus, Mono Vampire was unable to rally back in the final canto, in what was a sloppy finish to a terrific game.
Both teams were locked in a tight ballgame, as the Knights held a slim lead, 67-63 heading into the final frame. Buoyed by the faithful home team, the Knights found a way to take care of business despite the adverse circumstances.
A layup by Rachmad Utomo with 8:45 remaining in the game gave the Knights a 71-63 lead. Mono Vampire was able to counter behind big shots from Chitchai Ananti and Mike Singletary, trimming the deficit to only three points with 2:53 left in the game.
However that basket from Singletary would be the last field goal made in the game. Mono Vampire coughed up the ball four times in that stretch, while Moses Morgan and Darongpan Apiromvilaichai were unable to capitalize on opportunities to tie the game or seize the advantage. Free throws from Maxie Esho would seal the win for the Knights, as they celebrated the win in their home floor.
The Knights were led by Esho’s all-around game of 26 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. He teamed with fellow World Import Montay Brandon, who flirted with a triple-double performance of 15 points, 16 rebounds and 8 assists.
Mono Vampire was paced by Mike Singletary’s 29 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Local player Chitchai Ananti was also big time off the bench with 14 points on 4/8 from the three point area in the loss.
The Knights picked up its second win of the season, and now have a record of 2 wins and 4 losses, good for 7th in the ABL. Mono Vampire, finalists in last year’s ABL Finals have dropped four straight losses to start the season, and are still in search for that elusive first win.
The Thailand-based squad will have a chance to end the losing skid in Stadium 29, Thailand as they face the Formosa Dreamers on December 15. The Knights complete their two game home stand on December 16, as they look for revenge against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.